Generally speaking, I suck at the whole "gift" thing. Really. I don't know when I was supposed to take the "how to choose a gift" class in life, but I obviously skipped it in favor of a trip to the doughnut store or something... And, with everything else going on in life, time fell away from me faster than I could stop it. I hate waiting until the last minute (or later) for gifting, though you wouldn't know it, because that is usually when I end up doing it.
Some people would say that because I end up waiting so late, it shows that I don't care. I care very deeply. I just suck, and that's all there is to it. I missed the part where men get trained on taking their kids out to buy gifts for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Birthdays, and Christmas. I always hope to do better each year, yet, I never seem to.
This year was the worst, in my book. But, at the very last hour, I had a brain-storm. I remembered the talking photo frames we have. Unopened, untouched. Perfect. I took the kids into another room and had them record a message to their mother, each child recording into their own picture. Emily's is soft, barely audible. Tyler's sounds like a Darth Vader imitation (those are his own words!), yet when I asked if they wished to re-record, they both said no. I even prodded, begged them to redo their recordings, but they both refused. I am hoping they will record new messages throughout the years - that would be cool, I think... Oh, and Emily and I ate breakfast in bed with Shan, too. :-)
Shan loved the pictures and frames. She would have loved hand-made cards from the kids. It's the little things that count. I'm lucky, because she could be ripping my head off instead.....
My mother? We bought my mother a Polaroid digital photo frame and pre-loaded it with several pictures. She thought it was the coolest thing ever (my mother easily has more than a hundred pictures on display in the living room alone)! Shan and her siblings bought her Mom a new digital camera (very badly needed!!).
After Emily took her bath, we climbed up in her bed to read part of her bedtime story. Before we started, though, she told me that she didn't want to sleep in her bed. I told her it would be okay for her to fall asleep. With a tear rolling down her cheek, she said, "But if I fall asleep in my bed, I might not wake up...." Choking back my own tears, I assured her that if she fell asleep, I would come get her and put her in our bed before I fell asleep.
Losing Dad has affected us all in ways we still don't realize.... I emailed one of his co-workers in Iraq, and part of her reply included:
We still listen for your dad’s whistles, horn blowing to come down the empty halls ...
Mom and Dad would have been in Scotland today.
We have so many things we think about, so many we try NOT to think about, so many that we can't help but to think about... The thing that crosses my mind the most is just how much I miss my Dad, and realizing just how much I will miss my Mom (not that she's going anywhere anytime soon, I hope!!)... I hope I make the most of every day I have with all of my family.